SAMA, Nehawu welcome Covid-19 vaccine procurement, vow to closely watch rollout

SAMA, Nehawu welcome Covid-19 vaccine procurement, vow to closely watch rollout

The South African Medical Association (SAMA) has welcomed government’s procurement of a Covid-19 vaccine as vaccinations across the world gather pace.  

Covid vaccine

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced on Thursday that 1 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine would be brought in from India this month. 

Another 500 000 doses would be available to healthcare workers in February.  

SAMA chairperson Angelique Coetzee believes the rollout of the vaccine will ease concerns in the sector. 

“SAMA is extremely happy. We applaud the National Department of Health and the minister on the acquisition of 1.5 million of the coronavirus vaccine. We think it is extremely important. It’s a step in the right direction and we welcome it.  

“That’s enough for the first dosage, there should be coming in more for the second dosage.“ 

AstraZeneca is a two-shot vaccine with 70 per cent efficacy. 

It’s seen as a game-changer by many experts because it doesn’t require very cold temperatures for storage like the ones from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. 

Coetzee says it is a better pick for South Africa.  

“The requirements for the cold chain is between 4 and 8 degrees and that should not be a problem going forward as lots of the private sector, doctors and GPs have refrigerators where they can store the vaccine, as well the public sector would be able to store the vaccine,” she explains.  


Getting a shot isn’t mandatory but Coetzee urges frontliners to guard themselves against infection.  

“They do have the option to choose, it’s not mandatory and that’s why we are saying we urge our doctors to participate in the vaccination for themselves and not only in the rollout of it,” she adds. 

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has also welcomed government’s efforts.  

But the union warns against cutting corners.  

Nehawu spokesperson Khaya Xaba says the union will keep a close eye on developments.  

“As a union organising in the healthcare sector will work hand in hand with government to ensure that frontline workers are vaccinated and that corners are not cut in the process. Furthermore, we will monitor the process with hawk eyes to ensure that it runs smoothly for the benefit of our members and workers.

“As Nehawu, we are raring to partake in the process and we are more than prepared to assist the department in undertaking the vaccination of healthcare workers,” he adds. 

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